An old-fashioned favorite, this unusual-looking annual (grows just one year) is a favorite for cut arrangements or as an out-of-the-ordinary touch to flower beds.
Things You'll Need
- Compost Makers
- Garden Hoses
- Garden Spades
- Garden Stakes
Buy healthy, green plants - if you can find established seedlings of this unusual plant - with no signs of wilting or disease. Plants should be stocky with plenty of leaves.
Start seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before your region's last frost date if you choose to start from seed. Keep very cool (55 to 60 degrees F) until plants germinate, then give direct sun supplemented by a grow light if possible.
Plant seedlings outdoors in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a site in full sun with average, well-drained soil and moderate moisture. Set plants 8 to 12 inches apart.
Keep soil evenly moist. Mulching is a good idea.
Stake plants to prevent toppling in wind.
Fertilize every four to six weeks or work in a slow-release fertilizer (or plenty of compost) at planting time.
Tear out and discard plants in fall, after frost fells them.
Tips & Warnings
- Dry bells-of-Ireland, if desired, in mid to late summer when flowers are at their peak. To dry, hang cut stalks upside down in a warm, dry, dark, well-ventilated place (for example, in a garage with the door shut).
- Lime-green "bells" grow along a stalk 24 to 36 inches tall and turn a lovely pale beige when dried.
- Don't plant bells-of-Ireland in wet soil, or it may get a disease known as crown rot.
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